WESTVILLE – Juno award-winning blues band Fathead will be filling the Whitetail Pub & Grill with their unique sound next weekend.
Toronto blues band Fathead will be travelling to Pictou County on Oct. 25 for a show at the Whitetail Pub & Grill. SUBMITTED
The Toronto-based group will be playing in Pictou County for the first time in over 20 years of performing.
“We pull blues in different directions,” band leader Al Lerman says, explaining that there’s influences of funk, R&B and gospel in their music.
Lerman says it’s the writing and their lead singer that sets them apart from other blues bands.
“He’s something else,” Lerman said about “powerhouse” John Mays. Mays was raised in Georgia and began his career in Southern gospel before moving onto doo-wop, R&B and blues as well as a stint in soul with James Brown.
At the end of August, they welcomed guitarist Papa John King to the band as a replacement for Teddy Leonard.
“People seem to love him,” Lerman says of King, adding that he’s a great player and guy.
King played with British blues artist Long John Baldry for 20 years. He also spent many years with Canadian Rita Chiarelli and Austin performer Danny Brooks.
The band’s five members each have an extensive musical history behind them. Lerman has been nominated for several Maple Blues Awards for his harp and saxophone playing as well as his song writing.
Bassist Bob Tunnoch played with Toronto seminal bands Whiskey Howl and Wooden Teeth before coming to Fathead. He’s also graced the stage with legend Etta James, John Lee Hooker and Paul Butterfield.
Drummer Bucky Berger has been awarded drummer of the year twice in the Maple Blues Awards.
The bands’ last release, Twenty Years Deep, celebrates two decades worth of their best music. They’re now working on another album to be released in January 2014 that will be a continuation of their soulful sound.
Fans likely won’t hear much from the unreleased album, but they can expect a great show, Lerman says.
After grooving in Westville on Oct. 25, they’re looking forward to heading to Halifax the next day for the second annual Atlantic Blues Summit with Garrett Mason, Theresa Malenfant and the INstigators as well as several others.
In their long career performing together, Lerman says there’s no shortage of times they’ve been asked where their name comes from.
Lerman started the group as a side project after he became bored with the band he was in. He lined up a gig, but they had no name. He did, however, have a copy one of Ray Charles’ vinyl albums on him called “David Fathead Newman.”
“It’s just for one gig – why don’t you just call it Fathead,” he says someone told him, and it stuck.
Tickets cost $15 in advance and $18 at the door. The show begins at 9 p.m.
Tickets will also be sold for a 50/50 draw with proceeds going to the Pictou County Fuel Fund.
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